County wants fairgrounds left out of Vail town plans

2013-03-05T00:00:00Z 2014-07-08T11:20:01Z County wants fairgrounds left out of Vail town plansBecky Pallack Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star
March 05, 2013 12:00 am  • 

Opposing the idea of a cotton candy and corn dog sales tax, Pima County is asking for the fairgrounds to be excluded from a proposed town incorporation.

The Board of Supervisors is expected to vote today on the issue.

If the fairgrounds and surrounding Southeast Regional Park are excluded from the proposed town of Vail, the county lands would be an island surrounded by city and town lands. That's prohibited by state law, unless the supervisors give their OK.

Until Vail citizens approve incorporation and a town government is established, there is no way to say for certain whether there would be a town sales tax.

The exclusion would force the Citizens for Vail Committee to start over with its petition process because the current plan includes the fairgrounds.

"Not a problem," said George Mower, president of the Citizens for Vail Committee. "We want to work cooperatively with the county."

The Citizens for Vail Committee hopes to quickly continue with new petitions and a new set of boundaries after today's vote in order to have an incorporation question on the ballot in August, Mower said. The Vail area now is part of unincorporated Pima County.

County Administrator Chuck Huckelberry and the Southwestern Fair Commission are recommending the fairground not be part of the town.

The potential for the town to tax sales at the fairgrounds and park is a big risk, and the benefits of being part of the town are minimal, Fair Commission Executive Director Jon Baker said in a letter to Huckelberry last month.

The commission relies on all of the fair revenue to maintain and improve the fairgrounds, Baker said. Taxation would be a hardship, he said.

The budget studies for the town of Vail don't call for any sales tax or other income from the fairgrounds, Mower said.

The future Town Council would ultimately decide on any taxes, he said, but there isn't much retail business within the proposed town boundaries that could be taxed.

Supervisor Ray Carroll said the fairgrounds should control its own destiny, and he stands behind its decision. He said the people of Vail also have the right to vote on incorporation, and he supports that, too.

Visit incorporatevail.org for more information about the incorporation effort or to sign a petition.

Vail incorporation timeline

• March-April: Collect signatures of at least 10 percent of registered voters in the proposed town limits on petitions.

• May: County validates petitions.

• August: Voters decide whether to incorporate as a town.

Contact reporter Becky Pallack at bpallack@azstarnet.com or 573-4346. On Twitter @BeckyPallack.

Copyright 2014 Arizona Daily Star. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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